Individual and Organizational Factors in the Interchangeability of Paid Staff and Volunteers: Perspectives of Volunteers


  • Laurie Mook Arizona State University
  • Eddie Farrell St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto
  • Antony Chum St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto
  • Femida Handy University of Pennsylvania
  • Daniel Schugurensky Arizona State University
  • Jack Quarter University of Toronto



À but non lucratif, Bénévoles, Salariés


This study builds upon earlier studies of the degree of interchangeability between volunteers and paid staff in nonprofit organizations. While these earlier studies were from an organization perspective, this study is from the perspective of volunteers, and looks at individual and organizational characteristics in all types of organizations—nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, and others. The findings indicate that 10.8% of volunteers reported replacing a paid staff member, 3.1% permanently. Volunteers also reported being replaced by paid staff: 7.6% reported being replaced, 2.1% permanently. The study suggests that organizations utilize a co-production model and appear to interchange their paid staff and volunteers when needed in tasks requiring higher-level skills.


Cette étude se fonde sur des études antérieures qui portaient sur le niveau d’interchangeabilité entre Cette étude se fonde sur des études antérieures qui portaient sur le niveau d’interchangeabilité entre bénévoles et salariés dans des organismes à but non lucratif. Tandis que ces études antérieures adoptaient une perspective organisationnelle, cette étude-ci adopte celle des bénévoles et examine les caractéristiques individuelles et organisationnelles de toutes sortes d’organisations—à but non lucratif, à but lucratif, gouvernementaux et coopératifs. Elle se fonde sur deux sous-échantillons provenant d’une enquête aléatoire par téléphone avec 768 individus provenant de partout au Canada. Les résultats indiquent que 10,8% des bénévoles disent avoir remplacé un salarié, 3,1% en permanence. Les bénévoles disent d’autre part que des salariés les ont remplacés : 7,6% ont ainsi été remplacés par des salariés, 2,1% en permanence. L’étude semble montrer que les organisations utilisent un modèle de co-production et paraissent échanger leurs salariés et bénévoles au besoin pour des tâches requérant des habiletés de haut niveau.


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Author Biographies

Laurie Mook, Arizona State University

Laurie Mook is Assistant Professor in the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona.

Eddie Farrell, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto

Eddie Farrell is research coordinator for the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8. Email:

Antony Chum, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto

Antony Chum is post-doctoral fellow for the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8. Email:

Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania

Femida Handy is Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Daniel Schugurensky, Arizona State University

Daniel Schugurensky is Professor in the School of Public Affairs and School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona.

Jack Quarter, University of Toronto

Jack Quarter is Professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, and co-director of the Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto.


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